Are you struggling to cope with Ankle Pain? Do you suspect you may be suffering with Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis of the ankle can be devastating; especially if you lead an active lifestyle. Most people never give much thought to their ankle joints until they develop problems, but the truth is our ankles are central to so much of the movement needed to make life simple and enjoyable; walking, bending, even driving.

If you suspect you may have Ankle Osteoarthritis, it is imperative that you seek information about the condition and attain a diagnosis from an expert.

Ankle Pain

What’s the matter with my ankle?
In a healthy ankle, the bones in the joint are adequately cushioned by cartilage and lubricating joint fluid, making movement easy and painless. However if you are suffering from Osteoarthritis (OA):

  • Cushioning tissue that protects the cartilage in the joint begins to wear away
  • Synovial fluid that lubricates and protects your joints is deteriorating, making your ankle less able to absorb the shocks caused by movement when you walk, run or exercise.
  • Your bones may start to rub together. This creates pain, stiffness, and smaller range of movement.

Since Ankle Osteoarthritis is progressive and degenerative, it is absolutely essential that you consult an expert if you have any suspicions that you may be suffering from it. Delayed or inaccurate diagnosis could waste precious time, allowing your condition to worsen. Prompt and appropriate intervention is absolutely imperative to keep your symptoms under control and get life back on track.

The signs and symptoms of Ankle Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis may affect either one or both of your ankles. It often develops gradually, and so you may not notice it at first. However since Osteoarthritis is progressive, you will become aware that certain symptoms will worsen over time. Signs of Osteoarthritis may include:

  • A grating or painful feeling when you move your ankle. If your Osteoarthritis is more severe, you may even have pain while you are resting
  • Feeling stiff when you try to move after you’ve been resting
  • Swelling around your ankle
  • Poor ankle functioning, and a feeling that you can’t move it as much or as fast as you used to be able to

Stages of Ankle OA
Osteoarthritis of the Ankle is generally classified in two different ways; either a grading scale from 1 (mild) to 4 (severe) or in terms of mild, moderate and severe.

Mild Ankle OA: At this point, your joint cartilage surface will be starting to deteriorate. You may be feeling stiff in the morning and experience pain when you exercise.

Moderate Ankle OA: Your cartilage will be continuing to wear away. Your synovial joint fluid will be much less effective in lubricating and cushioning your ankle. It may be becoming painful when you move.

Severe OA: By this stage, your cartilage may be worn down completely, and your bones could be rubbing together. Your pain is probably quite severe, and perhaps almost constant. Routine tasks will be becoming more and more challenging.

What causes Ankle Osteoarthritis?
There is no one cause of Ankle OA, but the condition has been associated with various risk factors:

  • Age – older people are more likely to suffer Ankle OA
  • Injury – past injury to your ankle, either through trauma or overuse, can make you more susceptible to Ankle OA. In many cases the injury will have occurred many years before the OA develops or is diagnosed. Injury can directly damage the cartilage, or affect how the ankle joint works over time.
  • Gender – women suffer Osteoarthritis more often than men
  • Your genes – heredity has a bearing on the structure and stability of your joints. It is quite possible that Osteoarthritis is passed through families.
  • Weight – being overweight puts you at greater risk of Osteoarthritis because excess weight creates extra work for joints

Diagnosis and Treatment for Ankle Pain
As yet, there is no known ‘cure’ for Osteoarthritis, so treatment focuses on managing the problem and your symptoms. Since the disease will progress and lead to the deterioration of your joints over time if it is left unchecked, it is absolutely crucial to seek expert help immediately if you are experiencing OA symptoms.

Regrettably, many OA sufferers are left undiagnosed each year, their symptoms worsening as time goes on. They may try to manage their symptoms through the use of oral painkillers, which can be effective in easing discomfort, but are also associated with unwanted and potentially dangerous side effects through continuous use, such as serious stomach problems.

Similarly, corticosteroid injections (for example Cortisone), whilst effective in reducing pain and inflammation, are also linked to cartilage damage through repeat use. This could be especially problematic for Osteoarthritis sufferers since they are suffering damage to cartilage through their condition in the first place.

However, recent scientific developments, backed by extensive medical research and peer-reviewed analysis, has given way to a ground-breaking new approach to treating Ankle Osteoarthritis. Viscosupplementation, the injected replacement of damaged joint fluid with a substance that mirrors healthy, young joint fluid, is a safe, effective way to give sufferers back better mobility – without the unwelcome side effects that can come with pills and steroids.

Viscosupplementation treatment is proven to provide long-lasting relief from Joint Pain, enabling patients to enjoy a life of activity once more.

If you want to be free of pain and stiffness, call 0207 118 1771 today to book a consultation with a pain specialist

Or to read more about Viscosupplementation, have a look at our Viscosupplement Injections page.